Even with the recommendation of a cost of living pay raise for New York State legislators over three years, debate continues about some of the details of the plan and lawsuits are expected.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Speaking on the December 23 edition of the weekly, local public affairs program, “Southern Tier Close Up”, Senator Fred Akshar of Binghamton says he agrees with the Pay Commission recommendation to raise the legislative pay from $79,500 a year to $130,000 at the end of three years.

Lawmakers have not had a cost-of-living pay adjustment in 20 years.

The Binghamton Republican says it is a bit of a hard-sell, especially in areas outside of New York City, like the Southern Tier, that are facing difficult times with a struggling economy.   Akshar says that if “lawmakers are paid significantly to make people’s lives better, we should do that” and not let politics get in the middle.

What many lawmakers debate is whether limiting outside income and eliminating stipends was within the commission’s authority to set boundaries.

The first jump in pay to $110,000 goes into effect on New Year’s Day.

Senator Akshar talks about several topics during the upcoming interview on Southern Tier Close Up, including debate on legalizing recreational marijuana, his unique perspective serving as a lawmaker after being in law enforcement for so many years and just what is going on with that much-talked-about survey he put out asking constituents what they thought about officials looking into an applicant’s social media history when considering gun permits in New York State.

Southern Tier Close Up airs Sunday at 6 am on 99.1 The Whale.